If you’re a hardcore fan of Insane Clown Posses, you’re probably not reading this because you’re in Thornville, Ohio, participating in the weirdness that is the Annual Gathering of the Juggalos, the one-a-year festival/picnic/convention of the band’s acolytes–or, as one attendee called it, “a psycho-porn theme park” He’s more from the New York Times.
Alexander Perkins lost his legs after being hit by a train when he was 8. He describes himself, using expletives, as “a 260-pound black guy with a don’t-mess-with-me face.”
He is also a Juggalo.
This week, Mr. Perkins, 31, known to friends as Less Legs, and thousands of other Juggalos and Juggalettes have made the pilgrimage to Thornville, Ohio, to take part in the 17th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos. The nicknames, claimed by fans of the rap duo Insane Clown Posse, come from the group’s 1992 track “The Juggla.”
After arriving, many of the Juggalos paint their faces with heavy clown makeup, indulge in drugs and alcohol, attend concerts of Insane Clown Posse acolytes and hop on amusement park rides. The retreat started at 7 a.m. on Wednesday and will end Saturday night.
“It’s like a psycho-porn theme park,” says Camille Dodero, a journalist who attended four consecutive gatherings starting in 2010 and is attending this year. “It’s an intense sensory overload.”
The number 17 holds an important place in the iconography of Insane Clown Posse, which has elevated the significance of this year’s event. But news outlets and online gawkers have been gobbling up the spectacle for years, especially since the release of “American Juggalo,” a short, lewd independent documentary from 2011 that captured the scene before much of the mainstream came calling.